Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Letter of Reflection: Now What?

Dear Friends,

As the weekend comes to an end I am thinking about the opportunities that have been available to me as well as the many amazing and inspiring educational leaders I have had the pleasure of knowing and learning alongside of.  Please know how grateful I am for the inspiration, the opportunities to have my thinking challenged and the growth.  I will be forever grateful.

Through this fellowship I have had the opportunity to share my own #edvoice as well as learn from all of you about what matters in your communities and schools.  You have all played a very important part in my professional growth over the past 2 years. I appreciate your perspective because it offered me an opportunity to widen my own perspective and grow and think about what struggles others have. I appreciated how you have creatively developed and created solution based conversations and opportunities to make a difference for all children through your work. I have learned much from you.

I will always remember all America Achieves Fellows and the staff.  You have all impacted me in many ways and I will be forever grateful.....

I wish you all the best in your paths wherever they may take you.  It is nice to know that we are having an impact and continue to work collaboratively to make a difference for all children and their families.                                                
Best, Sharon

Heading back to Vermont today I am thinking about..... What is next? How will I share and reflect? Why is this important and how will I continue to be inspired?

I have the privilege of being a teacher and am grateful to be able to go to work each day where I can create and design meaningful learning opportunities alongside my students. Now what?  So I am thinking...

I am going to continue to find ways to connect my students globally with common needs that we face on our planet.  Through these type of experiences my students will begin to develop a global awareness and also make connections with others who also have a similar need. Together I hope to encourage and enrich learning opportunities that will inspire my students and give them purpose through their ability to care and how it feels to work alongside others to make a difference.

Taking care of my students means I also have to be well and take care of me...  I value and believe in wellness.  This means I make time throughout my day to get fresh air and exercise to keep my mind and body strong as well as my perspective.  John Schnur asked us again this question....."How do you keep your candle burning?" When he asked this question 2 years ago this was my response.

Thinking about this question 2 years later I am adding more thoughts.....

1. Fresh Air continues to be an important idea for me.  I always feel energized when I am able to move outside because I am able to reflect, observe and enjoy what is above me, around me and under my feet. This idea is important I think for children too.  So I hope to be able to offer more learning opportunities for outdoor learning experiences for my students.  Through our ability to notice patterns and ask questions about what is around us we will become thoughtful, engaged stewards of our world.  This would also be an opportunity to connect globally as well.
Seek out others who like you also like to be outside.  Fresh air is wonderful for my perspective.

2. Expressing my creativity is an opportunity for me to design things.  Knitting is one way I can experience these ideas.  I will be doing more knitting because it challenges my thinking as well as gives me an opportunity to think about how this craft might connect with learning "how to" code and other learning opportunities.  Through my passion I am able to think deeply about what I m doing, how I am doing it and why.  This same kind of thinking applies to learning, learning that will engage and have an impact.

3. Connection is what keeps me going.  I care deeply about living, being well and making a difference.  So teaching gives me a purpose and endless opportunities to weave opportunities to experience what it means to make connections with others through our passions and what we are curious about. Connecting globally keeps my perspective wide and invites opportunities to engage in conversations with others around a common need or interest.

4. Conversations matter.  I am thinking about the many opportunities I have to engage in conversations around a common need and or passion about something I am curious about. This is where I can share, reflect and be inspired through others ideas.  We all have the ability to be brilliant, share! I am always thinking about synchronous and asynchronous tools that support, enrich and enhance conversations.

5. Collaborating with others keeps me open to opportunities and ideas that challenge my thinking and inspire me. Through my PLN I have had many opportunities to learn alongside others.  I find such richness in the idea of collaborating with others globally because we are learning and making a difference about what we care about and have ideas to make a difference.

6. Identity matters and is important to understand.  Through knowing who we are and where we come from we make connections and build relationships with others.  I hope to weave more of this idea throughout my days in Kindergarten. This will help us explore empathy and how can we recognize others differences with a smile and the mindset of: "What can I learn from you?" Sharing our story is a nice way to connect and develop meaningful relationships.

Looking forward to what is next...  I am happy to have been a part of a national fellowship that challenged my thinking and offered me opportunities to share my #edvoice.  I am grateful........

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